Court OK's Chicken Farms In Delta County

Oct 20, 2014

The Colorado Court of Appeals overturned a previous ruling about the chicken farms in Delta County.

Western Slope Layers, the Hostetler hen house
Credit Marty Durlin/KVNF

A few years ago, the hen houses were challenged by neighbors.  One facility was built, and the other was and still is just proposed.  Neighbors complained about health effects and aerial exhaust from the plants.  They sued the county.  A district court judge then ruled that the county hadn’t looked at all the environmental health data, and issued a cease and desist. 

This week, the appeals court overturned that decision. Travis Jardon lives next to the proposed hen house. 

"Was I expecting that decision? No.  It was, quite frankly, surprising to me.  It was very disappointing," says Jordan.

He says he wants the facilities to be set back from residential areas, much more than they are now. 

"I just think it's going to open the flood gates to these sorts of facilities, that don't function well in this climate, to put in peril the health of a lot of neighbors.  I'm certainly not please with the direction the county is moving on this," he said. 

Edwin Hostetler is the owner of the hen houses. 

"Well, I think it's about time we got some justice," says Hostetler.

For the past year he hasn’t been able to keep chickens there.  He was expecting the appeals court to turn over the decision, in part because of Governor Hickenlooper.

"He said it should have been treated as a frivolous lawsuit," says Hostetler, "and he wrote a letter in our favor, as did the State Agriculture Department, the State Health Department, and the State Farm Bureau."

Jardon and the other plaintiffs have the option to appeal, but haven’t made a decision yet.